Thursday, August 18, 2011

Old Fashioned Baked Beans.

Well, so it's more picnic food. Labor Day is coming. If you do picnics or cook-outs, or any type of get together, this is a wonderful side dish. It goes with anything from hamburgers to grilled chicken.

For probably 50 or so years now my Grandmother's brothers and sisters would have a reunion on Labor Day. Everybody would bring something. Believe me those women could cook. So everything was so good. You couldn't help but over eat.

Grandma always brought a big dish of baked beans, and then went home with an empty dish.  This is my version.  It's a two day process, but worth it. Enjoy.
1 ham hock
2 cups dried navy beans
9 strips thick-cut bacon
1 white onion, chopped
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tbsp. molasses
1 1/2  tsp. yellow mustard
Salt and black pepper to taste

1 Soak navy beans in a bowl in water overnight to soften. Drain the beans in a colander and transfer them to a large crock pot.

2 Cover the beans with 4 cups of water.Rinse the ham hock and trim excess fat. Add to the crock with the beans. Let the beans cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until tender and the meat has fallen off the bone.  Drain in a colander and set aside. Save the liquid and the meat.

3 Fry three strips of thick-cut, diced bacon in a skillet until it is crispy. Add the chopped white onion and saute it in the bacon fat until it is translucent. Set aside. Mean while, pick any lean meat from the bone, chop and set aside.  Save any left over broth for another use.

4 Mix together brown sugar, ketchup,  molasses, mustard, sauce and salt and black pepper to taste in a small saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Remove the sauce from the heat. Preheat your oven to 375 F.

5 Transfer the beans to a 2-qt. casserole dish. Add the bacon, bits of ham and onions. Pour in the sauce and stir all of the ingredients until they're well-blended. Place six raw bacon strips across the top of the beans. Cover the dish with a piece of aluminum foil for half of the baking process.

6 Bake the beans for one hour, or until they are tender, the sauce is bubbly and the bacon topping is crispy.